Chino Planning Commission One Vote Shy Of Suspending Agency-To-Agency Privilege

The Chino Planning Commission this week came within one vote of violating the long and hallowed tradition of agency-to-agency privilege that is routinely extended between entities in San Bernardino County’s public sector.
By a narrow 4-to-3 vote, that panel, consisting of Commissioner Jimmy Alexandris, Chairman Brandon Blanchard and commissioners Kevin Cisneros, Steve Lewis, Jody Moore, Robert Nastase and Walt Pocock, recommended approval of the Chino Valley Unified School District’s request to have the Xebec Building Company engage in just under 385,000 square feet of construction on two sites within the city on its behalf.
The district had asked for the city to give Xebec Building Company an entitlement to proceed with erecting a 59,798-square-foot administration building on 4.52 acres at 13461 Ramona Avenue, and a 325,000-square-feet of warehousing on 14 acres on Yorba Avenue, between Schaefer and Chino avenues.
In San Bernardino County generally, when one governmental entity needs assistance or approval from another governmental authority, cooperation and accommodation is automatically extended. This spirit of courtesy and reciprocity is referred to as agency-to-agency privilege. Under the doctrine of agency-to-agency privilege, governmental entities do not hold their fellow and sister governmental agencies to as high of a standard as is exacted from the private sector.
As it turned out on Monday night, April 19, Chairman Blanchard and commissioners Jody Moore and Kevin Cisneros opposed the district’s request. Their issue was not with the new administration building but rather the warehouse, which is to be located along Yorba Avenue, a relatively narrow two-lane street.
Yorba XC, LLC is a limited liability company that is a corporate offshoot of the Xebec Building Company. Yorba XC, LLC, rather than the school district, is the applicant of record on the dual-phase project. Yorba XC, LLC entered into an agreement with the Chino Valley Unified School District to construct the district’s new administrative office building to be located at 13461 Ramona Avenue in exchange for a long-term ground lease on an adjacent piece of industrial property owned by the Chino Valley Unified School District.
The district’s administrative division, currently housed within a part of the Old Chino High School at 5130 Riverside Drive, will move into the Ramona Avenue district headquarters upon that project’s completion. The Riverside Drive facility will yet remain as the storage and facility yard for the district’s buses.
The district has owned the Ramona Avenue location since 1990 and currently uses the property for its Student Support Services Department. The Yorba Avenue site is currently vacant.
The proposed warehouse project to be located at 13404 Yorba Avenue is to consist of a 325,300 square foot industrial building that fronts the street. The building is designed to be flexible with office pods located at both the north and south ends of the building, which could accommodate either a single user or allow the building to be divided for two separate users. Loading doors are located on the west side of the building and face the interior property line.
Access is provided to the site via three driveways on Yorba Avenue. The north and south driveways will accommodate truck traffic and lead directly to the secure yard area at the rear of the site. The middle driveway is designed for passenger vehicle access only and provides direct access to the parking located in front of the building.
It was this ingress into and egress from the yard surrounding the warehouse that became an issue for Blanchard, Cisneros and Moore. They expressed misgivings about the narrowness of the street, which does not provide for a turning lane into the warehouse yard or an adequate opportunity for vehicles leaving the property to gradually blend into the Yorba Avenue traffic flow.
Both Blanchard and Moore referred to the convergence that would occur as a “bottleneck.” Blanchard said the configuration would “obstruct traffic flow.”
Cisneros concurred. The trio voted against the project based on traffic safety concerns, which they said would become more acute when the surrounding properties are developed.
Commissioners Alexandris, Lewis and Nastase and Pocock were more sanguine about the traffic issue, and their votes to approve the project prevailed.
The matter is now scheduled to go before the Chino City Council on May 4. That panel, which has the ultimate land use authority in the city, will be called upon to sign off on a zone change and general plan amendment for the project to be allowed to proceed.

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